One in four Scots claim the pandemic will have a negative impact on their mental health

A new study from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland has found that one in four people say the pandemic will have a negative effect on their mental health in the future.

One in four Scots say the pandemic will have a negative impact on their mental health in the future.
One in four Scots say the pandemic will have a negative impact on their mental health in the future.

The research carried out by YouGov in November also found that one third (33%) of those who had experienced a mental health problem before the pandemic said their condition had worsened since March 2020.

A poll of 1,055 people from across Scotland found that 40% of those questioned think the pandemic will be damaging to their mental health over the next year.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Just under a third (32%) thought mental health services across Scotland are poor quality and almost half (46%) said the Scottish Government is investing too little in mental health services during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the pandemic, the Scottish Government has committed £6 million of funding to improve mental health throughout Scotland and on Monday last week, they announced an investment of £15 million to respond to the mental health issues of children and young people.

However, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) in Scotland is now calling for more investment and commitment for mental health services, to deal with the forthcoming demand highlighted within their study.

Dr Jane Morris, consultant psychiatrist from RCPsych in Scotland, said: "These new statistics are deeply worrying and prove we are dealing with a mental health emergency.

"All of our clinicians are working extremely hard under difficult circumstances.

"Lockdown, bereavement, job losses and isolation are all having a terrible effect on the population's mental health and it's concerning that those who were already dealing with mental ill health have seen their condition deteriorate.

"We need more medical students and doctors to choose psychiatry to keep up with demand, but we also need solid and decisive government action on workforce, infrastructure and funding."

The College is launching the Choose Psychiatry in Scotland campaign to encourage more trainee doctors to take up the specialism to bolster mental health services.

Abigail Reynolds, 37, from Edinburgh who was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in 2019 warned there will be a huge fallout from the pandemic on mental health.

She said: "Living through a pandemic has really taken its toll.

"There's going to be a huge fallout mental health-wise from the pandemic, and that's why I'm supporting the Choose Psychiatry in Scotland campaign.

"Without a doubt, my psychiatrist and her amazing team saved my life. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my psychiatrist."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Since the beginning of the pandemic we have provided £6 million of dedicated funding to provide additional telephone and online support services.

"This includes £2.1 million to expand the NHS 24 Mental Health Hub to be available to the public 24 hours a day for seven days a week, £1.2 million to provide extra capacity for computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CCBT) and over £1 million to roll out the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme on a national basis.

"Protecting good mental health in Scotland will be central to our long-term response to the pandemic and, as set out in our recent Mental Health Transition and Recovery plan, the Scottish Government is committed to doing more."

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.